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Monday, March 21, 2011

Camp Memories

I finally remembered to fix the date on my camera,
after I took these.
With the first blooms of spring a girls heart turns to dreams of picnics and camp outs.  I know, it is supposed to turn to thoughts of love..... but I already have the love of my life, I don't need another one. It would just make things way too complicated and very unpleasant.  So, camp outs and picnics it is!

I grew up a Girl Scout. I loved it. I had the best leaders who took us on many adventures and taught us how to take care of ourselves along the way. I went to Camp Sacajawea every summer. It was always like a home away from home. I would cry the last night and get "camp sick" when I got home.

One summer I was in Shoshone Village. It was a camp unit that was about 1/4th of a mile from the main camp. Instead of platform tents, like the other units had, it had fairly authentic tee pees. My mother, was a consultant at the camp and was at the main camp for the session I was there.

One evening a storm moved in. It wasn't some little storm either. I remember it very well. The evening had been absolutely beautiful. The sunset had brilliant colors of oranges, reds and deep blues. I remember looking out over the site and feeling completely happy. We had a campfire and sang Girl Scout songs until dark. We went to bed with no worries.

Later that night my tent mates and I woke up to a loud crack of rumbling thunder. One screamed, one ran and climbed into an others bunk. I hid my head under my sleeping bag. Our tee pee started rocking. One of the posts started lifting and dropping back into place. The canvas shaking and snapping in the wind making noises that horrified us. We screamed in terror. I hadn't remembered a storm like that at camp ever before. We decided to run to the councilors tee pee.

Our councilors had been on the walkie talkie to the main camp. My mother was on the other end. She had done much research into tee pees. She was reassuring the councilors that the tee pees were safe. They sent us back to our tee pee. Two of my tent mates huddled up in one bunk, me and the other each took refuge in our own bunks and hid our heads under our sleeping bags once again.

My mother, still on the walkie talkie with the councilors told them "Tee pees are the safest place you can be in a storm."

At that very minute, our tee pee, lost its battle against the storm. With a terrible howling noise the poles were pulled from the ground. The canvas ripped. The entire structure flew over us and hit me on the head as it went by. The heavy poles crashing onto the empty cot of my tent mate that had cowered in the bunk of the other. We screamed and screamed, not knowing what else to do. We were getting soaked in the rain that was slapping us with the screeching wind that was pushing it.

"Tee pee 8 just went over, " the councilors told my mother back in the safety of main camp. They came running to us, peeled us out of our soaked sleeping bags that we were frightened to leave and took us back to their tee pee.

The camp vans arrived to rescue the entire unit from the storm. They took us back to the main camp and we nervously rested in one of the camp buildings with girls from other units. The camp nurse checked us over, especially me, since I got conked with a pole. We were all fine.

Many things worked to protect us that night. Most important was the fact that my one tent mate had crawled into the others bunk. Had she stayed in her own she would certainly been injured by all of the poles landing on her bunk. These were not your normal tent poles. They were each ten foot long railroad type poles. They were very heavy. She was very lucky. I hid my head under my sleeping bag which helped to soften the blow of the pole that hit my head. Had I not, I'm sure I would have had a concussion, at best. As it was though, someone was looking out for us and kept us safe.

The next day we returned to our unit. We got our first daylight look at our tee pee, that was when we really realized just how lucky we had been the night before. Our gear was soaked, and a few things ruined, but we were safe and sound.

And my mom, she never lived down her "tee pees are the safest place to be in a storm," remark. How ironic that at the moment she uttered those words the tee pee of her own daughter went over. Luckily, all could look back and laugh at the comment. And the Camp Sacajawea staff took the opportunity to do just that, just as often as they could. She earned it!

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